WASHINGTON — Documents made public Wednesday suggest U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson was involved in the controversial purchase of a $31,000 furniture set for his office suite, despite claims by an agency spokesman that he was not aware of it.
An August email obtained by the liberal watchdog group American Oversight shows a HUD staff member making reference to “the furniture the Secretary and Mrs. Carson picked out.” Another email shows a HUD staffer writing Carson’s wife, Candy Carson, to ask if she was available to meet with a designer about “bringing in new furniture.”
Carson, the celebrated former pediatric neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins Hospital, has faced increased scrutiny for the $31,000 dining room set — ordered at a time when the agency was contemplating deep cuts to housing programs. He has also faced criticism for involving his wife and son in government business. He called on the department’s inspector general last month to investigate that involvement.
When news of the dining room set became public last week, a HUD spokesman said “Mrs. Carson and the secretary had no awareness that the table was being purchased.”